Yesterday was the first day back at school after Spring Break. I didn't think I'd have work, but I was fortunate enough to find a job in Kindergarten just down the street from home.
I figured subbing for kinders on the first day back from break would be a little bit of a challenge. The fact that they were forecasting rain made me a little more tense, but lately we've had a lot of off-base weather reports, so I wasn't terribly worried.
I really do love Kindergarten. The kids can be fantastic or monstrous, and I've certainly had groups at both ends of the spectrum. This group of kids was quite good. Unfortunately, they got less "good" as the day went on and they were stuck inside. That's not their fault, but it makes for a headache by 3pm.
The rain started at about 10:00, ten minutes before recess. The classroom was large, the kids didn't fight with each other and there were only 21 of them, so it was all good. Sadly, it kept on raining.
I don't think the classroom teacher suspected that it would rain, because he didn't leave me a copy of the rainy day schedule. The office gave me a copy of the bell schedule when I checked in, but that was just for regular days. So, imagine my surprise at 11:15 when I was just getting the room cleaned up so I could line the kids up for lunch at 11:25 when an announcement came over the speaker saying that we would be on rainy day schedule and that kinders would be having lunch at 11:15. Are you kidding me?
So, I rushed them through cleaning and lining up...the poor kids...and it took me until 11:30 to get them through the lunch line and seated. Then another teacher tells me to hurry because I only get 30 minutes for my own lunch. (And that's 30 from 11:15.) So....I had 15 minutes to visit the restroom and gulp down some food. I'm a flexible person when it comes to last minute changes. I figure they're paying me to be there, so I don't really care about recess duty or how long my lunch break is, but a person needs a bio-break once in a while!
Fortunately, the sun started shining at around noon and the kids were able to play outside for their afternoon recess time.
I'd never been to this particular school before, and they had one program that I absolutely thought was a godsend. The kids who need extra help stayed after the bell for intervention and worked in a small group with the teacher. I dismissed most of the kids at 2:00 and worked with the remaining three of them until 3:00, when the older kids get dismissed. A couple of weeks ago, I was talking to another kindergarten teacher within the same district about the need for such a program. He must have known it existed at this school. His position was that not all kids need extra time in class, but for the children who do, we should offer the personal attention. It seemed reasonable to me, and seeing how calm and ready to work those three kids were during that last hour cemented my opinion on the issue.
Although there are negative things about subbing: low pay, no benefits, not working steadily, and having an extra challenge with classroom management by virtue of not being the person the kids see every day, there is an enormous advantage to traveling throughout different schools and different districts. I really get a chance to see things that work. And that may turn out to be worth it's weight in gold at some point in my career.